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Icknield Street

ICKNIELD STREET, (i) The Saxon name (earlier Icenhylt) of a prehistoric (not Roman) " Ridgeway " along the Berkshire downs and the Chilterns, which crossed the Thames near Streatley and ended somewhere near Tring or Dunstable. In some places there are traces of a double road, one line on the hills and one in the valley below, as if for summer and winter use. No modern highroad follows it for any distance. Antiquaries have supposed that it once ran on to Royston, Newmarket and Norfolk, and have connected its name with the Iceni, the Celtic tribe inhabiting East Anglia before the Roman conquest. But the name does not occur in early documents so far east, and it has certainly nothing to do with that of the Iceni (Haverfield, Victoria History of Norfolk, i. 286). See further ERMINE STREET. (2) A Roman road which ran through Derby, Lichfield, Birmingham and Alcester is sometimes called Icknield Street and sometimes Rycknield Street. The origin of this nomenclature is very obscure (Viet. Hist, of Warwick, i. 239).

(F. J. H.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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